Standing on a sidewalk along North Ontario Street last night, Michael Dressel stared at a wreath a few feet away.
The wreath, adorned with a blue ribbon, marked the spot where his son, Toledo police Detective Keith Dressel, was mortally wounded one year ago yesterday.
"I kept looking at the wreath, thinking of Keith, wishing I could have been there consoling him," Mr. Dressel said. "I wanted to get down and touch that spot."
Last night was the first time Mr. Dressel and his wife, Larraine, stood at the site. They had driven by in the past.
Several hundred people - mostly Toledo police officers - joined them to solemnly remember their "brother in blue." Some held candles and others illuminated their flashlights in honor of the fallen hero.
At least 30 undercover detectives, some of whom worked alongside Detective Dressel, were at the back of the crowd.
Some of the people who live in the north-end neighborhood braved the freezing temperatures and stood on their porches to witness the 30-minute vigil; others peered out their windows.
Detective Dressel was shot
Feb. 21, 2007, when he and other undercover officers approached Robert Jobe, 15, and Sherman Powell, 19, about 2 a.m. in the 1400 block of North Ontario.
After officers confronted the teenagers, both young men ran into the fog in opposite directions.
According to police, Detective Dressel caught up with Jobe, they struggled, and the teenager fired a fatal shot.
The veteran detective died a half hour later at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center. Both youths were convicted last year.
But rather than focusing on Detective Dressel's death, last night they remembered his life.
Officer Dave Baertschi stood at the podium and unfolded a worn-looking piece of paper. He said he and Detective Dressel grew up together in the police department.
They attended the police academy together, worked together in communications, and then patrolled the city's streets together.
"That's where we became partners and best friends," the officer said, as he read from the small piece of paper.
Officer Baertschi, now a part of the mounted patrol, said his former partner could lighten the mood of any situation.
"I looked forward to coming to work everyday knowing he was my partner," he said.
The slain detective's sister, Jennifer Raburn, said everyone has a different memory of her little brother. Hers are of go-karts, motorcycles, and swimming in the pool with him.
"Like everyone said and we all know, we must go on, but that little bit of him still remains with all of us," she said, choking back tears. "With each splash of the pool and each look out at the go-kart track, each memory that passes, we think of you, Keith."
Neil Dressel spoke briefly about last year when his brother was taken away from his family. He stared at the sidewalk where Detective Dressel laid after he was shot.
"Keith, we miss you very much," he said.
For Neil Dressel. the teal green 1995 Chevy Camaro he bought from his brother is where he finds comfort. He said the driver's seat has a circular chunk of cushion missing from where Detective Dressel's holster rested.
"When I hop in it, it's one of my ways of thinking about him," Neil Dressel said.
He said his brother loved that car.
"It's one of those things I can't ever get rid of, " he said.
Dressed in black, Danielle Dressel told people to cherish their families. She thanked the officers for honoring her husband and asked them to be safe.
"Let this site we're standing at right now be a reminder of the reality of the dangerous job our police officers do every single day," she said. "Please love your family every day you're here."
Detective Jim Dec worked in the vice narcotics unit with Detective Dressel for about four years.
Although he and Detective Dressel were both born after Toledo police Officer William Miscannon was killed in the line of duty in 1970, they both knew who he was.
Those in the department taught them about Officer Miscannon and other fallen policemen before him.
It has been more than 30 years and Officer Miscannon has not been forgotten, he said.
And neither will Detective Dressel.
"My generation of police officers will pass on Keith's legend," he said.
"You need to pass on the real life, the human stories of who these people were."
Contact Laren Weber at: